Senate debates

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Committees

Selection of Bills Committee; Report

11:45 am

Photo of John WilliamsJohn Williams (NSW, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On behalf of Senator Bushby, I present the 14th report of 2018 of the Selection of Bills Committee, and I seek leave to have the report incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The report read as follows—

SELECTION OF BILLS COMMITTEE

Report no. 14 of 2018

1.   The committee met in private session on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 at 7.30 PM.

2.   The committee recommends that—

(a)   the provisions of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2018 be referred immediately to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 11 February 2019 (see appendix 1 for a statement of reasons for referral).

3.   The committee deferred consideration of the following bills to its next meeting:

•   Australian Cannabis Agency Bill 2018

•   Australian Research Council Amendment (Ensuring Research Independence) Bill 2018

•   Customs Amendment (Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2018

Customs Tariff Amendment (Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2018

•   Electoral Legislation Amendment (Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2018

•   Future Drought Fund Bill 2018

Future Drought Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2018

•   Halal Certification Transitional Authority Bill 2018

•   Intelligence Services Amendment Bill 2018

•   Migration Amendment (Streamlining Visa Processing) Bill 2018

•   Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australia Fund Bill 2018

•   Social Services Legislation Amendment (Ending the Poverty Trap) Bill 2018

•   Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Supporting Retirement Incomes) Bill 2018.

4.   The committee considered the following bills but was unable to reach agreement (see appendix 2 for statements of reasons for proposed referrals):

•   Australian Citizenship Amendment (Strengthening the Citizenship Loss Provisions) Bill 2018

•   Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

•   National Integrity Commission Bill 2018

•   National Integrity (Parliamentary Standards) Bill 2018

•   Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty Consequential Amendments Bill 2018 and the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment (Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty) Bill 2018

•   Treasury Laws Amendment (Strengthening Corporate and Financial Sector Penalties) Bill 2018.

(David Bushby)

Chair

29 November 2018

Appendix 1

SELECTION OF BILLS COMMITTEE

Proposal to refer a bill to a committee

Name of bill:

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2018

Reasons for referral/principal issues for consideration:

        Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992
        Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 (the Code Act), and;
        Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (the Amendment Act).

        Possible submissions or evidence from:

                          Committee to which bill is to be referred:

                          Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee

                          Possible hearing date(s):

                          To be determined by the committee

                          Possible reporting date:

                          11 February 2019

                          Appendix 2

                          SELECTION OF BILLS COMMITTEE

                          Proposal to refer a bill to a committee

                          Name of bill:

                          Australian Citizenship Amendment (Strengthening the Citizenship Loss Provisions) Bill 2018

                          Reasons for referral/principal issues for consideration:

                          Possible submissions or evidence from:

                          Committee to which bill is to be referred:

                          Legal and Constitutional Affairs

                          Possible hearing date(s):

                          23 January 2019

                          Possible reporting date:

                          Second sitting Wednesday of 2019

                          SELECTION OF BILLS COMMITTEE

                          Proposal to refer a bill to a committee

                          Name of bill:

                          Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

                          Reasons for referral/principal issues for consideration:

                          Possible submissions or evidence from:

                          Committee to which bill is to be referred:

                          Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee

                          Possible hearing date(s):

                          13 and 14 December 2018

                          Possible reporting date:

                          First sitting Wednesday of 2019

                          SELECTION OF BILLS COMMITTEE

                          Proposal to refer a bill to a committee

                          Name of bills:

                            National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (McGowan PMB)
                            National Integrity (Parliamentary Standards) Bill 2018 (McGowan PMB)

                          Reasons for referral/principal issues for consideration:

                              Possible submissions or evidence from:

                                              Committee to which bills are to be referred:

                                              Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee

                                              Possible hearing date(s):

                                              To be determined by the Committee

                                              Possible reporting date:

                                              5 April 2019.

                                              SELECTION OF BILLS COMMITTEE

                                              Proposal to refer a bill to a committee

                                              Name of bill:

                                              Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty Consequential Amendments Bill 2018, and Passenger Movement Charge Amendment (Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty) Bill 2018

                                              Reasons for ref erral/principal issues for consideration:

                                              Impact on Australia's relationship with Timor Impact on business in the region

                                              Possible submissions or evidence from:

                                              Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

                                              Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

                                              Woodside

                                              ConocoPhillips

                                              Santos

                                              INPEX

                                              Eni

                                              Tokyo Timor Sea Resources

                                              Woodside

                                              Shell

                                              Osaka Gas

                                              Committee to which bill is to be referred:

                                              Senate Economics Legislation Committee

                                              Possible hearing date(s):

                                              To be determined by the committee

                                              Possible reporting date:

                                              12 February 2019

                                              SELECTION OF BILLS COMMITTEE

                                              Proposal to refer a bill to a committee

                                              Name of bill:

                                              Treasury Laws Amendment (Strengthening Corporate and Financial Sector Penalties) Bill 2018

                                              Reasons for referral/principal issues for consideration:

                                              This Bill responds to the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce Report, released in December 2017.

                                              Since this Report was released, the Banking Royal Commission has uncovered widespread and systematic misconduct across the financial services industry.

                                              Given the new evidence that has come to light, it would be appropriate to refer the Bill to inquiry for careful consideration to ensure it sufficiently strong and robust to tackle corporate misconduct.

                                              Possible submissions or evidence from:

                                              Consumer Action Law Centre, Financial Rights Legal Centre, ASIC, the ACCC, experts on corporate misconduct and financial crime, the Law Council of Australia, State, Territory and International Bar Associations (e.g. the Victorian Bar and Criminal Bar Association), state and territory law associations/institutes (e.g. Law Institute of Victoria, NSW Law Society).

                                              Committee to which bill is to be referred:

                                              Senate Economics Legislation Committee

                                              Possible hearing date(s):

                                              to be determined by the committee

                                              Possible reporting date:

                                              12 February 2019

                                              I move:

                                              That the report be adopted.

                                              Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Minister for Communications and the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

                                              I move the following amendment:

                                              At the end of the motion, add "and, in respect of the—

                                                    the bills not be referred to committees for inquiry and report.".

                                                    11:46 am

                                                    Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    These three bills are bills that the Greens thought should be referred. We do not believe that these bills should be dealt with in this way, not being reviewed by the broader committees in this parliament, because the Greens want an opportunity to be involved in the inquiry into these bills. Doing it this way locks out the Greens from being involved in inquiries into these bills. We believe they require broader scrutiny, so we're disappointed that the government has moved to not refer these. We couldn't reach agreement on these, but we will not call a division; we just want our deep concern registered that these bills have not been referred to the appropriate committees.

                                                    Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Fifield be agreed to.

                                                    Question agreed to.

                                                    11:47 am

                                                    Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    At the request of Senator Collins, I move the amendment circulated in the chamber:

                                                    At the end of the motion, add:

                                                    "(a) and, in respect of the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018, the provisions of the bill be referred immediately to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 5 April 2019;

                                                    (b) and, in respect of the Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty Consequential Amendments Bill 2018 and the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment (Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty) Bill 2018, the provisions of the bills be referred immediately to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 8 February 2019;

                                                    (c) and, in respect of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Strengthening Corporate and Financial Sector Penalties) Bill 2018, the provisions of the bill be referred immediately to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 8 February 2019;

                                                    (d) and, in respect of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2018, the provisions of the bill not be referred to a committee."

                                                    Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    I seek leave to amend the motion in the terms that I believe have been circulated in the chamber, the effect of which is to change the reporting date for the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018, which has been referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, from 5 April to 12 February.

                                                    Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    You don't need leave. I'll take that as you moving the amendment to Senator Collins's amendment.

                                                    Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    At the request of Senator Siewert, I move:

                                                    In paragraph (a), omit "5 April 2019", substitute "12 February 2019".

                                                    Mr President, do I have the opportunity to speak briefly to that?

                                                    Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    I am incredibly disappointed that we have a chance now, in this term of government, to actually pass a bill to establish a National Integrity Commission, this federal anticorruption watchdog that the public has been desperate to get for so long and that the Greens have been working for since 2009 with motions, with bills and with inquiries, but what's happened here is that the two big parties have ganged up and sent this off for inquiry with a report date past the budget, when we all know that the parliament will be prorogued and we'll be in an election campaign. It is just a little bit too convenient that this date has been chosen. This is effectively killing the member for Indi's bill to establish an ICAC, and we all in this chamber know it.

                                                    I want to make sure that the public and anyone who's listening to this understands what's going on here. I think it's an absolute abomination. We know that we have the numbers to establish an ICAC. We can all see what's happening in the House, the disarray that the government have fallen into and the fact that they have now lost the numbers. There is enough support in both chambers to set up a federal anticorruption body. I'm about to introduce a bill, when we move to the next part of business, to do just that. Ms McGowan has introduced a bill. We don't care whose bill gets up.

                                                    The Australian public don't care whose name is on this; they just want this outcome. They are desperate to get their democracy back. It is laughable that there is an assertion that there's no corruption and that this body is not needed. The Commonwealth is the last jurisdiction to not have an anticorruption body. Today the ACT are passing a bill to set up an anticorruption watchdog in their jurisdiction. We are the last ones that don't have this body that holds us all to account.

                                                    The Australian public's opinion of all of us in here is very low—and is it any wonder when you are standing in the way of a watchdog, a body, that looks into corruption, dodgy dealing, donations that buy policy outcomes, and fancy lunches that buy access and policy outcomes? We've got a chance to actually clean up democracy. We've got a chance to get the vested interests out of democracy and put the people back in. That's what we're elected to do. What's happening here is that you two have stitched up a deal to kick this off into the long grass. It is absolutely outrageous. We've been working on this for 10 years—and over my dead body will we stop working on this, because this is an issue that the Australian public want action on.

                                                    Opposition senators interjecting

                                                    I'm sorry that you find that amusing. The Australian public don't find it amusing. They want action on this. We've got the chance to do that and, instead, you're sending this off to an inquiry that won't report until after the election is called. What a joke! What you're doing is killing this bill.

                                                    I hope that we get support for the bill that I'll be moving to introduce very shortly. But, as I say, I don't mind whose bill gets up. The Australian public don't care whose name is on the front cover; they just want an anticorruption body. So I would urge both sides of the chamber to support my amendment to bring the report date forward to 12 February. There's still time to look into this bill. We can still look at how it's going to work. We can still give consideration to potential amendments and tweaks if those are deemed necessary. We can still follow that decent process, but we could then still have time to pass this body and make it happen.

                                                    The fact that you're standing in the way of that really puts the lie to the fact that you supported my motion last week to set up an anticorruption body. If you don't want to do it, why did you say you do? We had support for that motion. A vote wasn't even called in the House. Obviously, that's because the government knew they were going to lose. Labor supported the motion. If you say you support a federal anticorruption body, why don't you follow through when you've got the chance to do that? Surely that's the least that the Australian public can expect of us in here.

                                                    11:52 am

                                                    Photo of Jacinta CollinsJacinta Collins (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Cabinet Secretary) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    I rise to speak on the amendment and the comments just made by Senator Waters. Labor has a very strong position in relation to a national integrity commission. I chaired the last Senate inquiry and I was the deputy chair of the inquiry prior to that. I know which senators have a long-term commitment in relation to establishing a national integrity commission, and I take lectures like that from the senator as they should be taken.

                                                    The clear position of the Labor Party is that we will, in government, introduce a national integrity commission within the first 12 months. But we have to make sure that we get such a body right. The Senate committee has not looked into this matter in such detail, with very clear recommendations, of the process that needs to occur to rush it in a way which will establish a commission that does not have the support and the standing that it will need to have in the future. Labor has a very strong position. In government we will establish a commission, but we will get that process right. We have heard a number of concerns in relation to the McGowan bill. We understand the good faith in which it's being progressed, but there are some sensitive issues that need to be managed effectively and it should not be rushed.

                                                    11:53 am

                                                    Rex Patrick (SA, Centre Alliance) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    We will be supporting part (a) of the motion moved by Senator Urquhart and we do so fully supportive of a national integrity commission. The bill that has been introduced by Ms McGowan in the House of Representatives was co-sponsored by Ms Rebekha Sharkie. We accept, as Labor does, that the bill is not perfect but that it's a foundation upon which we can work. We would also suggest that this is the sort of bill that you can't rush through a parliament. It involves intrusive and coercive powers. It involves complex concepts, and it even crosses into complex areas of law. So this should not be rushed. It should be dealt with diligently and properly by the Senate. We will be supporting that motion. I'd just ask that, when this motion is moved, we have an opportunity to vote on (a) and (b) as one group and (c) and (d) as a separate group, unless someone else wants to break it up further.

                                                    Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    The question is that the motion moved by Senator Waters on behalf of Senator Siewert to amend the motion moved by Senator Urquhart on behalf of Senator Collins be agreed to.

                                                    12:02 pm

                                                    Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    I will now put the amendment as it was moved by Senator Urquhart. Senator Fifield, did you request that matters (a) and (b) be dealt with separately to (c) and (d)?

                                                    Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Minister for Communications and the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    No, Senator Patrick asked that (a) and (b) be put separately, but I would like (c) to be put separately.

                                                    Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    Okay. I just need a name for the record. Senator Patrick, you're requesting that (a) and (b) be dealt with separately?

                                                    Rex Patrick (SA, Centre Alliance) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    Mr President, I ask that (a) and (b) be put together and that (c) and (d) be put together, unless someone wants it broken up further.

                                                    Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    I'll deal with (a) and (b) first if the Senate's happy with that. The question is that paragraphs (a) and (b) of the amendment moved by Senator Urquhart be agreed to.

                                                    Question agreed to.

                                                    Senator Fifield, you would like (c) dealt with separately.

                                                    The question is that paragraph (c) of the amendment moved by Senator Urquhart be agreed to.

                                                    The Senate divided. [12:07]

                                                    (The President—Senator Ryan)

                                                    Question negatived.

                                                    12:09 pm

                                                    Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

                                                    The question is that paragraph (d) of the amendment moved by Senator Urquhart be agreed to.

                                                    Question agreed to.

                                                    The question is that the motion moved by Senator Williams to adopt the Selection of Bills Committee report, as amended, be agreed to. I ask senators to remain in the chamber, as we're about to go into general business, when I'll be ringing the bells for one minute.

                                                    Question agreed to.